Feb 20, 200602:02 PMThe Life
Date trees, beauty queens and ostrich brains
Feb 20, 2006 - 02:02 PMDate trees were imported to the Coachella Valley from Algeria in 1903. The first two Date Festivals were held in 1921 and '22, then the concept fell dormant until the late '30s, when Western/Cowboy themes were in vogue. But WWII put a stop to all California fairs, and the Date Festival wasn't revived until 1947. The postwar festivals were dominated by an Arabian Nights motif, complete with beauty pageants and out-of-control ostrich races, and these traditions have persisted to the present day.
This year's pageant winners are (left to right - click photo to enlarge): Jessica Walls (Princess Dunyazade, from PDHS), Ginger Rae McCartney (Queen Scheherazade, from DHSHS) and Rema Kirk-Ruiz (Princess Jasmine, from LQHS).
This year's ostriches also carry on their old traditions, by running into walls and generally acting like birdbrains. But according to Jonnie, a specialist with Hedrick's Promotions, these animals can't help themselves; they actually have quite tiny brains. In fact, an ostrich's brain is not even as large as its eye.
Further research unearthed the third-century Roman emperor Varius Avitus Bassianus (a/k/a Elagabalus), who used 600 of the birds to make Ostrich Brain Pie for his grandmother.
What a thoughtful grandson.
Not long after, the teenaged emperor's family had him killed.
Kinda makes you wonder if was connected to his taste in pie.